Leverhulme lectures to explore ideas from the Chinese tradition

Leverhulme lectures to explore ideas from the Chinese tradition

Ideas from Chinese philosophy will be explored in the 2023 Leverhulme Lectures at the University of Aberdeen.

Visiting scholar Professor Karyn Lai, from the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, will present the series beginning on March 8 2023.

Her lectures will examine the views of thinkers including Kongzi (Confucius), Laozi, and Zhuangzi, from the Warring States period (475-221 BCE) in China.

Questions explored over the five-lecture series will include “How do we live an exemplary Confucian life?”, “What is dao?” and “How did Chinese philosophers think about a flourishing life?”

The lectures will discuss ancient Chinese philosophical views on morality, knowledge, expertise, agency, disability, and freedom; and reflect on their relevance to us today.

Dr Lai’s research engages Chinese and Western philosophical traditions, offering culturally-inclusive and relevant models of human wellbeing. Her work explores how the Confucian tradition thinks about moral life.

Dr. Lai has also examined conceptions of mastery, knowledge, agency and freedom in the fascinating Daoist text, the Zhuangzi. She is author of Introduction to Chinese Philosophy (2nd ed., 2017, Cambridge University Press), which has been translated into Chinese, Korean and Portuguese.

Dr Lai’s edited books include Knowers and Knowledge in East-West Philosophy (2022, Palgrave Macmillan) and Skill and Mastery: Philosophical Stories from the Zhuangzi (2019, Rowman and Littlefield; edited with Wai Wai Chiu).

Lectures: 6 pm – 7.30 pm (UTC+0)

Venue: All lectures will be held in Lecture Theatre 1, New King’s College, University of Aberdeen, except for the lecture on Thursday March 23, which will be held at Lecture Theatre 10, New King’s College.

  1. Engaging Chinese Philosophy – Wednesday March 8
  2. Knowledge and the moral community: Confucian philosophy – Monday March 13
  3. User-friendly morality: Mohist philosophy – Wednesday March 15
  4. Doing it risky: Daoist philosophy – Thursday March 23 (held at Lecture Theatre 10, New King’s College)
  5. Disability and a good life: Zhuangzi’s philosophy – Wednesday March 29

All lectures will be followed by a drinks reception. All are welcome and booking is not required.

The lectures will be recorded and made available at a later date.

For more information, please contact Professor Michael Beaney: michael.beaney@abdn.ac.uk